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A nurse in full PPE holds the hand of one of the critically ill COVID patients while another nurse hangs intravenous medication. (Photo by Dr. Bram Rochwerg at the Juravinski Hospital)
September 13, 2021

Unvaccinated individuals unnecessarily hospitalized

With the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting Hamilton, unvaccinated individuals are being hospitalized unnecessarily. This is limiting the ability of our staff and physicians to respond to the needs of other patients.

“Although 20 per cent of eligible population of Ontario are unvaccinated, they represent 80 percent of hospitalizations and nearly 90 per cent of ICU patients,” says Dr. Sunjay Sharma, Medical Director at the Hamilton General ICU. “It is very clear that being fully vaccinated significantly decreases your risk of getting seriously sick and hospitalized from COVID-19 – as well as decreases the chance of our hospitals being overwhelmed.”

For example, on Friday, September 10, at HHS, seven of the eight extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) patients were unvaccinated, and cardiac surgeries were cancelled because of limited resources.

Physicians and other healthcare workers are frustrated.

“Those choosing to be unvaccinated are endangering others and themselves – they don’t need to be sick and in hospital,” says Dr. Craig Ainsworth, Director of the Cardiac Care Unit at Hamilton General Hospital. “My colleagues and I are fully vaccinated, we support hospital policy and expect that everyone will follow the science. It’s the right thing to do.”

Even as unvaccinated individuals continue to be unnecessarily hospitalized, anti-vaccination protests are also occurring at hospitals.

“HHS condemns the harassment of medical and healthcare professionals imposed by these protests, as well as the misinformation they perpetuate,” says Dr. Michael Stacey, Executive Vice President, Academic and Chief Medical Executive. “Our healthcare professionals should never be the target of emotional distress and moral injury by protesters. On the contrary, they should be praised for their tireless efforts in supporting our patients throughout this pandemic.”

HHS hospitals and urgent care clinic are safe for everyone who needs care, and patients are urged to please continue to attend appointments, diagnostics tests, cancer screenings, etc. Patients will be contacted directly by their surgeon or a member of their care team if there is a change to their planned care.

Please receive the vaccine as soon as you are eligible. Being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best prevention against serious illness, hospitalization and death.

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For more information, please contact:

Wendy Stewart
Communications & Public Affairs
Hamilton Health Sciences
stewartwen@hhsc.ca